Decision on Removing Wolf Protection Indefinitely Delayed

The US Fish and Wildlife Service, bowing to special interest groups, had proposed lifting protections for gray wolves — presently an endangered species — across the lower 48 states, although the very small population of 75 Mexican grey wolves in the Southwest would continue to receive protection.. (The National Cattlemen’s Association wants that removed too.).This would have affected the approximately 6,000 wolves thought to roam the continental US, primarily in the Northern Rockies and western Great Lakes regions. The federal proposal said that this number was sufficient to ensure survival of the species, which was almost wiped out early last century due to a government-sponsored  poisoning and trapping campaign.  If this proposal passed, it would transfer control of wolves to state wildlife agencies, where special interest groups such as hunters and ranchers (who are very bad about sharing livestock and elk they want to kill THEMSELVES for fun and profit) would be free to create open season on wolf hunting and trapping.

In Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, regulated hunting and trapping of wolves has already been introduced, leading to a fast, sharp decline in wolf numbers.
In Oregon and Washington, which have small but rapidly growing wolf populations, the animals remained protected under state laws even after federal protections were lifted in portions of the two states.
However, in a court filing last week, government attorneys say “a recent unexpected delay” is indefinitely holding up action on the predators. No further explanation was offered.
Let’s be grateful for small mercies.

Come to Animal Activism 201 This Sunday

Animal Activism 201: The Psychology of Change is a two-hour workshop being held at the University District Library this Sunday, June 2nd, 2013.

animals 201

The event picks up where Animal Activism 101 left off–but don’t worry. You didn’t have to attend the first to come to the second. This one will focus on different issues, mainly how we can understand human nature and use that knowledge to be more effective activists.

Activism isn’t just attending demos, leafleting, or tabling. You can be an activist in many ways, including “behind the scenes.” Blogging, web design, graphic arts, letter-writing, data entry–there’s a job for all of us and this meeting will help you find a way to be effective.

We’ll get together and talk about how we can progress the movement for animal liberation by knowing more about how we humans work!

Check out the Facebook event and RSVP if you haven’t already or just show up!

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
The Seattle Public Library – University Branch
5009 Roosevelt Way N.E., Seattle, WA 98105

Best of all, the event is FREE! We’ll be heading to a local vegan eatery for some food and socializing after, so don’t miss it!

 

Urge Congress to Crack Down on Puppy Mills

From HSUS:

https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=5934&autologin=true&s_src=web_hp_bb1052913

Urge Congress to Crack Down on Puppy Mills

Legislation to crack down on puppy mills has been reintroduced in Congress. S. 395 / H.R. 847, the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) Act, will close a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act regulations that currently allows puppy mills to sell dogs over the Internet without any oversight or standards of care.

This bipartisan bill will require the following changes to the AWA: 1.) All dog breeders who sell more than 50 puppies per year directly to the public will be federally licensed and inspected; 2.) Dogs at commercial breeding facilities must be given the opportunity to exercise for 60 minutes a day; and 3.) The bill will not affect small breeders and hobby breeders who sell fewer than 50 dogs per year directly to the public, but is crafted to cover only large commercial breeding facilities.

The PUPS Act is sponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. and David Vitter, R-La., and Reps. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., Sam Farr, D-Calif., Bill Young, R-Fla., and Lois Capps, D-Calif.

TAKE ACTION
Complete the form [https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=5934&autologin=true&s_src=web_hp_bb1052913] to automatically send a message to your legislators expressing your support for the PUPS Act.
Look up your legislators’ phone numbers here.

After making your phone call (please do not skip that crucial step!), fill in and submit the form [https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=5934&autologin=true&s_src=web_hp_bb1052913] to automatically send a follow-up message to your legislators. Members of Congress receive a lot of email, so remember to personalize your email message below so that your message stands out.

Disaster Preparedness for You and Your Companion Animals

EmergencyWeb_500pixels_wide

In light of the recent catastrophic events in Moore Oklahoma, it is a poignant reminder to all of us to prepare for disasters, no matter what form it takes. Here in the Pacific Northwest region, we are at risk for earthquake activity, owing to the many fault lines that run along the Pacific coastline, as well as effects of tsunamis. Many low-lying areas are also prone to flooding, and tornadoes–while rare in this region–are not out of the question. We must take preparations to be able to survive on our own for a period of time, and ensure the survival of those who depend on us, such as our companion animals.

moore

After being lucky enough to survive an initial disaster, the infrastructure we depend on may not be functional; there may no longer be access to food or running water, electricity or shelter, so planning ahead for such contingencies increases your chance of surviving for a period of time in case rescue crews or relief supplies are not able to reach you for a few days. Especially after a substantially destructive event with widespread damage, help may not come for some time (after the Moore tornado, first-responders at first were not able to get into the affected neighborhoods because of the extensive amount of debris blocking roadways), so it is best to plan ahead; imagine taking a camping trip for a week and you’ll get some idea of what you’ll need. Speaking of camping, many of us in this region do so, so there is the added advantage of having those supplies and gear at our disposal. Failing that, you can compile such items now and it will serve the dual purpose of being available for that trip you’ve been wanting to take in the mountains.

It will take some time and money to compile these kits, but it is important to start now and add to it as time and money allows; every little bit you add will greatly improve your situation later should the unthinkable happen. We recommend compiling one go-kit for each member of your household, including special items for your companion animal(s), and stowing camping gear in your available vehicles. There are special items you can compile for the home, but be aware that after a flood, earthquake, or tornado, your residence may be compromised enough to be unsafe for habitation, if it is left standing at all.

Vegans will have to ensure that there is enough food stocked up and packed away. Relief supplies, once they come, may not be all vegan, so having enough food for at least 7 days is recommended. Energy bars are convenient, especially in the Go-Kits, but they are expensive. Better to stock up at home on canned soups, beans and vegetables, dried fruit, nuts, and avoid foods like rice, noodles, and instant mixes as they require heat and a lot of precious water to prepare. There are now available quite a few packaged vacuum-sealed meals (usually Indian or Thai curries) that are vegan.

Another consideration for vegans is the inclusion of first-aid kits. There are many pre-packaged first-aid kits on the market, but many of them have products either with animal ingredients or are manufactured by companies that conduct testing on animals. It is better to make your own, using items from safe manufacturers. A list of recommended items are below.

Discuss an evacuation plan with all members of your household and how to notify each other in case of separation. Note that phone and internet communication networks may either be inoperable or overloaded, but establish an out-of-town/state contact person that each person can check in with, or use the same social networking sites. Discuss alternate meet-up places. If you have children, make sure they know their basic personal information should they get separated, know alternate contacts and meeting sites, and role-play with them on what to do and where to go as well as how to get hold of 911 and other contacts.

Your companion animals need special attention and planning. Make sure any licenses are current, and each animal has an ID tag. Consider micro-chips. Keep an updated list of trusted neighbors who could assist your companion animals in case of an emergency. Make sure they are comfortable being inside carriers. Fasten down aquariums and other cages to their tables to prevent them from tipping over. If you evacuate, locate all your animals and keep them with you. Be aware that shelters will only allow service animals. In a large-scale disaster, animal shelters will be set up when possible.

If there is absolutely no way to take your companion animals with you, inform animal rescue workers of your pets’ status: On your front door or in a highly visible window, use chalk, paint or marker to write the number and types of pets in your residence. Include their location in your home and the date that you evacuated. Leave plenty of water in a large, open container that cannot be tipped over. Leave plenty of food in timed feeders to prevent your pet from overeating. Absolutely do *not* tie up your pet in your home. The first chance you can get communications, find out who among neighbors, friends, or rescue workers can get to your place.

The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is never as critical to follow as preparing for a disaster. It is worth it to start now, and even if you cannot afford to get everything at this point get what you can, and continue to build upon your kits, because every little bit will prove to be invaluable should the unexpected happen. And especially for those of us who have others who depend on us, like companion animals, and those who are living as vegans, it is important to place extra consideration to ensure that as many living beings survive as possible.

FIRST-AID KIT (in a small plastic container)

+ First-aid manual
+ Sterile gauze pads of different sizes
+ Adhesive tape
+ Adhesive bandages in several sizes
+ Elastic bandage
+ A splint
+ Antiseptic wipes
+ Soap
+ Antibiotic ointment
+ Antiseptic solution (like hydrogen peroxide)
+ Cold packs/Heat packs (wrap in towel prior to use)
+ Tweezers
+ Sharp scissors
+ Safety pins
+ Disposable gloves

GO-KIT (in a backpack)

+ LED-flashlight
+ First-aid kit (as noted above)
+ Bottled water
+ Dried food like soy jerkies, energy bars, dried fruit, granola, etc.
+ Permanent marker, paper, tape to leave behind notes
+ Whistle
+ Flare or warning light to signal planes/helicopters
+ Multi-tool knife
+ Matches in waterproof container or cigarette lighter
+ Rain poncho
+ Warm hat/gloves
+ Sturdy shoes
+ A change of clothes
+ Emergency Mylar blanket (aka thermal blanket, Space Blanket, first-aid blanket)
+ Extra glasses, contact cases, contact solutions, other vital personal items
+ Prescription medication
+ Travel-size toothpaste and toothbrush
+ Photos of family members/companion animals for ID purposes
+ Copy of health insurance and identification cards
+ List of emergency point-of-contact phone numbers
+ Extra keys
+ Emergency cash in small denominations

COMPANION-ANIMAL GO-KIT (in a shoulder bag)

+ Carrier with blanket (Store with bag)
+ Sturdy leashes and muzzles for dogs.
+ Food, potable water and medicine/supplements for at least one week
+ Non-spill bowls, manual can opener (if using canned food)
+ Plastic bags for sanitation
+ Recent photo of each pet
+ Names and phone numbers of your emergency contact, emergency veterinary hospitals and animal shelters
+ Copy of your pet’s vaccination history and any medical problems
+ Favorite toy
+ A pillowcase may be a good emergency transport for cats and other small animals

HOME KIT (in large plastic tub)

+ Water*
+ Food (as noted above)
+ Manual can-opener
+ First-aid kit (as noted above)
+ Crowbar (doors that are shut may be jammed)
+ Dust-masks
+ Non-leather heavy-duty work gloves
+ Hand-powered radio
+ Flashlight/batteries
+ Plastic sheeting/duct-tape to cover up broken windows
+ Bucket/heavy plastic bags for sanitation (toilets may not function)
+ Personal hygiene items including toilet paper, feminine supplies, hand sanitizer and soap
+ Rope/twine
+ Plastic tarps
+ A copy of important documents & phone numbers
+ Tools; hammer, nails, staple gun, hacksaw/pruning saw
+ For children provide comfort food and treats, and games

It would be a good idea to store a crowbar, dust-mask (to filter out drywall, insulation, and other dust shaken loose), sturdy shoes, flashlight, and glasses (if you need corrective vision) next to your bed.

CAR KIT (to supplement Go-Kit)

+ Water*
+ Food (as noted above)
+ Sleeping bag(s)
+ Tent
+ Camping mess kit (forks, spoons, knives, metal pots/cups/plates)
+ Camp stove, or matches/cigarette lighter for building camp-fires
+ Extra blankets
+ Flashlight/batteries
+ First-aid kit (as noted above)
+ Emergency road-side kit (usually includes flares and tools)
+ In-car chargers for cell-phones and other communication devices
+ CB Radio
+ Change of clothes
+ Warm hat/gloves

*A SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT WATER:

In a disaster, water supplies may be cut off or contaminated. Store enough water for everyone in your family to last for at least 3 days. Store one gallon of water per person, per day. Three gallons per person per day will give you enough to drink and for limited cooking and personal hygiene. Remember to plan for your companion animals.

If you store tap water:
Tap water from a municipal water system can be safely stored without additional treatment. Store water in food grade plastic containers, such as clean 2-liter soft drink bottles. Heavy duty, reusable plastic water containers are also available at sporting goods stores. Empty milk bottles are not recommended because their lids do not seal well and bottles may develop leaks. Label and store in a cool, dark place. Replace water at least once every six months.

If you buy commercially bottled “spring” or “drinking” water:
Keep water in its original container, and don’t re-store a bottle once it’s been opened. Store in a cool, dark place. If bottles are not marked with the manufacturer’s expiration date, label with the date and replace bottles at least once per year.

Treating Water after Disaster:
If you run out of stored drinking water, strain and treat water from your water heater or the toilet reservoir tank (except if you use toilet tank cleaners). Swimming pool or spa water should not be consumed but you can use it for flushing toilets or washing.

Treatment Process:
Strain any large particles of dirt by pouring the water through layers of paper towels or clean cloth. Next, purify the water one of two ways:
Boil – bring to a rolling boil and maintain for 3-5 minutes. After the water cools, pour it back and forth between two clean containers to add back oxygen; this will improve its taste.
Disinfect – If the water is clear, add 8 drops (1/8 teaspoon) of bleach per gallon of water. If it is cloudy, add 16 drops (1/4 teaspoon) per gallon. Make sure you are using regular bleach— 5.25% percent sodium hypochlorite— rather than the “ultra” or “color safe” bleaches. Shake or stir, then let stand 30 minutes. A slight chlorine taste and smell is normal.

A SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT EARTHQUAKES:
In an earthquake, since it happens suddenly and without warning, it is important to know what to do. It is a myth that the safest place is under a doorway; in modern structures, the doorway is no stronger than the rest of the building–in fact, you’re likely to get injured from doors swinging wildly, and if it’s a public building, people may shove past you to hurry through. Instead, drop, get under cover, and hold on. Many people make the mistake of standing, running, or trying to keep furniture from falling over—all major earthquake no-nos. When an earthquake strikes, don’t run or try to escape. Search for cover as close to you as possible; if you’re in bed, stay curled up and protect your head with a pillow. If you’re driving, pull over to the side when it’s safe, and stay off bridges and going underneath overpasses.

WE ARE BEGGING: Call & email to kill the KING AMENDMENT!

People, this is HUGE.

Right now — now, not later — please call your Representative in the U.S. Congress and ask that she or he demand to strip the King Amendment from the Farm Bill. The King Amendment  would overturn every voter-approved animal welfare ballot measure relating to agriculture – Prop 2 in CA (veal and gestation crates, battery cages), Prop 6 in CA (the sale of horses for slaughter), Prop 204 in AZ (veal and gestation crates), and Amendment 10 in Florida (gestation crates). It could also void six other state bans on gestation crates, horse slaughter bans in a half-dozen other states, the comprehensive animal welfare standards adopted by the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, and other anti-downer laws and animal protection laws designed to shield farm animals from abuse. Under this amendment, we would have no state laws for agricultural facilities relating to worker rights, animal welfare, environmental protection, or public health.

During his ten years (HOW? WHY?!) in Congress, the Republican Steve King from Iowa has attempted to block all animal welfare laws. He favors killing horses for human consumption, killing American bison in Yellowstone National Park, and trophy killing of polar bears, even though they are an endangered species. He opposes every bill against dogfighting and cockfighting. He even opposed including pets in disaster planning.

Please make a brief, polite phone call to your U.S. Representative. Just say, “Hi, I’m calling to ask that Representative NAME oppose the King Amendment to the Farm Bill, which slashes protections for animals and violates state’s rights.” If the person you speak with doesn’t know your representative’s position, please leave your name and phone number, and ask for a call back. Send a follow-up email saying the same thing.

I can only say again, this is HUGE. I can’t think of any other piece of legislation that has the potential to cause such suffering for so many. 

When Wolves Lose Endangered Species Act Protection, We Lose Wolves!

The United States Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) has announced a plan to delist all wolves throughout the United States (except Mexican wolves) who are currently protected by the Endangered Species Act. This reckless and politically motivated plan will intensify the ongoing slaughter of wolves. We have already seen tragedy in western states where hateful anti-wolf rhetoric and politics trump ethics and science.

wolf in creek, credit Jim Robertson

When wolves lost their ESA protection in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, these states immediately began to allow a recreational slaughter. Wolves are being injured and killed by bow hunters, gunned down by trophy hunters, tortured by trappers in steel-jaw foothold traps and snares, and subjected to other brutal “management” methods, including aerial gunning. More than 1,100 wolves have been killed in these states since Congress took ESA protection away from them in 2011.

Has the human behavior that caused the endangerment of wolves and made necessary their protection changed? No! This question, not just numbers, should determine whether this species can afford to lose ESA protection. Wolves are still discriminated against and misunderstood, their role as important top carnivores for the integrity of ecosystems is not sufficiently valued, and they are hated by the livestock industry, ranchers and hunters.

Learn more and sign the petition at the IDA site.

Urge USDA To Confiscate Elephant Lucky From The San Antonio Zoo

In a shocking move, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) reportedly approved a request by the San Antonio Zoo to keep a 53-year-old female Asian elephant named Lucky in isolation. Lucky is now the only solitary female elephant in an AZA-accredited zoo in the U.S. The zoo’s director told the media that Lucky will remain at the zoo  until she dies. The zoo’s other elephant, Queenie, died in March.

elephant Lucky San Antonio ZooNo elephant should ever be held in solitary confinement. Female elephants are profoundly social – they live in matriarchal, multi-generational herds in the wild that include sisters, aunts, nieces, and nephews.

The AZA’s own guidelines require that elephants are housed in groups of three, yet the AZA is inexplicably sanctioning the San Antonio Zoo’s cruel decision to keep Lucky alone. This is the third variance the AZA has given to the zoo in a decade to house Lucky alone, despite pleas from IDA and our members to deny the unreasonable (and inhumane) requests and instead send Lucky to a facility that can meet her physical and social needs.

You can learn more and sign the petition at the IDA site.

Help us defeat the "Rotten Egg Bill" (S.820) – tell Sen. Maria Cantwell to withdraw her sponsorship

The Rotten Egg Bill has reared its ugly head again. Senator Maria Cantwell has just signed on as a cosponsor of the EGG PRODUCTS INSPECTION ACT AMENDMENTS OF 2013 (S.820), which would condemn egg-laying hens to confinement in battery cages forever, and would prohibit any future challenge by state law or public vote. This bill does nothing but benefit the animal abusers. It will do nothing to help the birds; in fact, it will do just the opposite. Please urge Senator Cantwell to withdraw her sponsorship and ask Senator Patty Murray to vote NO

[Ed: You can read more about our official position in opposition to it when it was introduced last year here. And as detailed below, this year's bill is even worse than the one that failed last year.]

From All-Creatures.org (originally Posted: May 8, 2013)

The Rotten Egg Bill aka “The Screaming Hen Bill” Needs Our Help To Be Defeated!

FROM United Poultry Concerns (UPC)

ACTION

United Poultry Concerns opposes the EGG PRODUCTS INSPECTION ACT AMENDMENTS OF 2013. We oppose legislation that benefits egg producers and legally condemns hens to living in cages. With Congress set to consider the Farm Bill shortly, please notify your U.S. Senators and Representatives that you oppose the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments. Urge them to oppose this legislation and briefly and clearly explain your reason.

Call Senators and/or Representatives at (202) 224-3121.

To send letters, faxes, emails:

Find and contact your U.S. Senators
http://www.senate.gov/

Find and contact your U.S. Representative
http://www.house.gov/

INFORMATION / TALKING POINTS

Also visit The Screaming Hen Bill – opposition!

Before you read further, please watch “Normal and Natural,” a short video by Edgar’s Mission in Australia.

“This legislation puts cages in place, puts them in law. That’s a huge cave-in . . .” – Joe Miller, attorney for Rose Acre Farms Battery Cage Hen Operation, 2nd largest egg producer in the U.S., 2013.

Facts:
The Egg Bill would legalize and legitimize cages for hens
What is an enriched cage?
Helping Hens or Benefiting Their Abusers?
What Should I Do?

In “Agreement Raises Flags for Egg-Laying Hens” published in 2012, United Poultry Concerns reviewed the effort by animal advocates to ban cages for egg-laying hens in Europe and the United States. In 2011, a pact between The Humane Society of the United States and United Egg Producers frustrated this effort, which also failed in the European Union when a law went into effect January 1, 2012 banning conventional barren battery cages while legalizing “enriched” or “furnished” battery cage systems for hens in the EU.

Following suit, the alliance between HSUS and UEP led to legislation before Congress in 2012. The Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 (The “Egg Bill”) sought to legalize cages for egg-laying hens, prevent voters from initiating ballots to ban cages in their own state, and prohibit states from passing stronger welfare laws than those set in the Egg Bill.

Last year’s bills failed but are once again before Congress. Under the terms of the 2013 Egg Bill sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and Rep. Curt Schrader of Oregon, barren battery cages would be phased out over a 20-year period and replaced by “enriched” cages as the dominant housing system for hens in the United States.

The Egg Bill would legalize and legitimize cages for hens

Since cages are the cheapest way to mass-produce billions of eggs for consumers, the majority of the 280 million hens in U.S. facilities will continue to be caged in long windowless buildings just as they are now, under the proposed law.

This year’s Egg Bill is even worse than last year’s: one of the worst exemptions allows the toxic excretory ammonia levels of 25 parts per million in confined-hen buildings to reach even higher levels of toxicity to accommodate egg industry “emergencies” of unspecified duration. The toxic ammonia the Egg Bill permits constitutes animal cruelty even without cages.

What is an enriched cage?

In her forthcoming book Chickens’ Lib: The Story of a Campaign, Clare Druce, founder of Chickens’ Lib in England in the 1970s, summarizes in “Enriched” Cages – A Gaping Loophole in the “Welfare” Law for Egg-Laying Hens in the European Union:

Basically it’s still a battery cage, the birds living behind bars on metal grid flooring, the cages stacked up in tiers, many thousands of hens to a building. Compared to the old-style cage, there’s mandatory additional floor space per hen measuring roughly the size of a postcard, bringing the entire minimum space per hen to 750 square centimeters (116 square inches), little more than a sheet of paper.

The cages must include a perch, a “nest” box and a scratch pad. The term “nest box” sounds comforting, Clare says. “But in the enriched cage context it is simply a curtained area, behind which the hen finds the same sloping cage floor, the metal grid now covered in matting of some kind. Not a wisp of straw, no soft material with which to arrange her nest. Some of the enriched colony cages I saw held up to 60 hens. Gleaming metal cages stretched away into the distance, and there was that familiar unending clamor of frustrated hens’ voices.”

Helping Hens or Benefiting Their Abusers?

Under the terms of the Egg Bill, the majority of hens will remain in cages. They will be locked into a federal law administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture which doesn’t even enforce the 55-year-old “Humane Slaughter Act,” from which birds are excluded.

At most, brown hens, being slightly larger than the white hens who represent the majority of egg-laying hens in the United States, may within 20 years get a maximum of 144 square inches apiece, or one square foot of living space per hen. The white hens will max out at 124 square inches per hen, well below a square foot, even though a hen needs a minimum 1.5 square foot, or 216 square inches, merely to engage in minimal “normal behavior.”

Whether the Egg Bill would ban starvation molting of hens is a question. The ammonia cave-in and the cage cave-in show how capitulation to egg industry economics and “emergencies” will likely influence the bill as it moves through the legislative process to its final, eviscerated form.

The claim that the proposed legislation would ban inhumane methods of “euthanasia” is totally false. Spent hens are just piles of garbage – a costly nuisance – to egg producers, to be gotten rid of any old way. Like the male chicks of the egg industry who are trashed as soon as they are born, their sisters are a waste product to this industry as soon as they lay fewer eggs. Gassing hens to death with CO2 in metal boxes is NOT EUTHANASIA!

What Should I Do?

United Poultry Concerns opposes the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments. We oppose legislation that benefits egg producers and legally condemns hens to living in cages. With Congress set to consider the Farm Bill shortly, please notify your U.S. Senators and Representatives that you oppose the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments. Call them at (202) 224-3121. Urge them to oppose this legislation and briefly and clearly explain your reason.

Thank you for taking action.

To view Humane Farming Association’s animated video A Cage Is A Cage and learn more, please visit: StopTheRottenEggBill.org.

To learn more about enriched cages and why sanctuaries oppose them, see “Enriched” Cages for Egg-Laying Hens in the US and EU by United Poultry Concerns.


Thank you for everything you do for animals!


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Clearing Ban Renewed in Indonesia's Tropical Forests

About a third of the world’s remaining tropical forests are to be found in Indonesia. They include some of the world’s most biodiverse rainforest, home to countless species of animal, including the orangutan, elephant and Sumatran tiger. Between 2000 and 2010, Indonesia lost almost 3 million acres of forest each year. A two-year moratorium on felling forests in an effort to halt deforestation (deforestation that benefits timber, paper and palm oil companies) cut this to 450,000 acres a year. The moratorium recently expired, leaving plantations and loggers legally free to expand into new areas (although they are expanding ILLEGALLY all the time anyway). Indonesia is already the world’s third-largest carbon emitter.

On Monday 13th May, Indonesia’s president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, signed a two-year extension of the moratorium, which bans new logging permits for primary, or virgin, forest — i.e. forest not logged in recent history. The moratorium was vehemently opposed by — big surprise — palm oil planters. A spokesman for the Association of Indonesian Palm Oil Producers said the ban caused Indonesia to be overtaken by Malaysia as the world’s biggest producer of palm oil. (And who will care when the rain forest is GONE??)

“We firmly reject any proposal to extend this moratorium because we stand to lose more than we gain from it,” the spokesman said. Profit NOW is apparently more important than the fact that carbon dioxide emissions were found this week to have reached the highest atmospheric concentration in recorded human history. If emissions continue to rise the world will experience devastating degrees of warming within several decades — apparently still too far in the future for the palm oil companies to care.

Environmentalists say the moratorium is, while better than nothing, still far from sufficient. It excepts projects already approved by the forestry minister and others considered vital, such as for power production, and leaves many glaring loopholes. For example, the province of Aceh on the island of Sumatra has overturned its own deforestation ban at the local level and plans to open up a million hectares of protected forest for exploitation despite the moratorium — and despite a petition with almost almost a million signatures.

It is a good point to mention (again?) that none of us should be using palm oil. It isn’t in anything crucial, it isn’t in anything you can’t do without. I know we were all delighted to find Earth Balance….but it contains palm oil, so ditch it. Spectrum Canola Oil Spread (at Vegan Haven) and Saffola margarine (at QFC) are both vegan and palm oil-free. You can do it.

In-vitro meat makes a debut

Here’s some food for thought: If the main reason for choosing a vegan lifestyle is to reduce suffering, what do you think about in-vitro meat?test tubes

The New York Times recently reported about a hamburger grown in a laboratory from muscle tissue. This in-vitro, or cultured, meat doesn’t require the water, grain, land, transportation, and slaughter of an animal.

The sample being worked on at the moment isn’t vegan–it’s origins are animal in nature (cow stem cells). But future versions could be grown from non-animal sources.

This still sounds like science fiction, and I’ll stick by the loads of scientific findings that meat of any kind isn’t healthy. But if people don’t stop eating meat, perhaps they could gravitate toward in-vitro meat and bypass factory farms.